September 23 and 24 were two fruitful days for SKIVRE consortium on the 3rd project meeting in Leuven. Main topics on the meeting were the training development and future testing of the training modules. Angela Ivanova as a representative of INI-Novation Bulgaria OOD, the partner responsible for these important tasks, presented the progress of the consortium work on the training scheme and on the collection of good practices as well.
Along with the discussions and decisions made on the meeting, the SKIVRE partnership visited the extraordinary Abbey Park in Belgian #Leuven. This meeting is hosted by our colleagues of Future for Religious Heritage who also organised a study visit to Abbey of #Averbode. Here our team learned a lot about their monastic products and marketing activities.
At the end, all partners were convinced that we have two more good practices for our training modules and for the future benefits of our learners.
SKIVRE Partners on a visit in Tsarnogorski Monastery, Bulgaria, Source: http://www.svetogorie.com
As part of the planned project meeting in Bulgaria organised by INI-Novation Bulgaria, the SKIVRE project team visited the Tsarnogorski Monastery “St. St. Cosmas and Damian”, also well-known Giginski Monastery. On May 8th 2019, the partners met the Abbot Archimandrite Nikanor and during the conversation, in the process of bilateral acquaintance, topics related to the aims of the project, as well as issues related to religions, Christianity and the holy Orthodox Church, were discussed.
The SKIVRE project, abbreviated as Skills Development for the Valorisation of European Religious Heritage, has the ultimate goal of developing a 10-module educational program to support the development of production and the management of various monastic products. The modules will be and uploaded on a special online platform to serve for training monks, hired workers in monasteries, volunteers, etc.
The SKIVRE team brings together representatives of various civil and Christian organizations and companies from Germany, Belgium, Greece, Bulgaria and Austria. The implementation of the project is funded by the European program “Erasmus +” under funding number 2018-1-DE02-KA202-005023.
In front of the guests from Europe, the abbot of the Tsarnogorski Monastery archimandrite Nikanor talked about the ancient tradition that the Orthodox monks kept to sustain and develop their monasteries, thanks to their work and realization of products they produce. He shared the good experience of the monastery in the development of his own agriculture as well as buffalo and another livestock farming. He presented dairy and other products produced in the monastery, and shared his vision for development of pilgrimage tourism in the Pernik region.
Monastic shop in Tsarnogorski Monastery, Bulgaria
Monastic shop in Tsarnogorski Monastery, Bulgaria
The cleric explained that the partnership with the project team will be a significant benefit for the monastery and for other Orthodox monasteries in the country, therefore, he appreciated a formal invitation for collaboration in the SKIVRE project.
SKIVRE partners expressed their interest in the initiative of the monastery to organize an exhibition event for monastic products, which since 2018 is performed within the framework of the Tsarnogorski folk fair. Furthermore, the opportunity was addressed, to jointly present the project results with INI-Novation Bulgaria at the official forum of the fair in 2020
At the end of the meeting, SKIVRE partners visited the monastery churches and chapel, and got acquainted with the history of the monastery. They have also shown interest in the story of the miraculous icon of Most Holy Mother of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. After the highly appreciated visit, the Abbot Archimandrite Nikanor expressed his invitation to all SKIVRE partners to visit the monastery again.
This article is based on the original online publication of Tsarnogorski Monastery (www.svetogorie.com).
Find more photos on the Facebook page of the monastery following the link.
European Commission supports INI-Novation Bulgaria for Project Activities
In the next two years, INI-Novation Bulgaria participates in a high-class European consortium for a project in the preservation of the religious heritage. The European Commission is funding an initiative that will qualify religious institutions to professionally develop and distribute marketable monastic products. The first project meeting with ten representatives from six European countries took place in Bronnbach Monastery, Germany.
The SKIVRE project (“Skills Development for the Valorisation of European Religious Heritage”) will be financed by the European ERASMUS+ programme. The project manager Angela Ivanova names three objectives: To expand competence in European monasteries for the development, production and marketing of high-quality products, to establish Europe-wide sales strategies for monastic products and to revive the monasteries’ historical craftsmanship. Behind this is the clear intention to generate income through high-quality, authentic monastic products, which will directly benefit the preservation of the monasteries. The following are created
- a multilingual training program for monastic employees, monks and nuns to professionalize the development, production and marketing of monastic products,
- a user-friendly digital learning platform,
- a handbook for monastic products with guidelines for professional production and marketing via trade, and
- a publication on historical crafts in monasteries and their potential for social entrepreneurship in rural areas.
Monastic products for the preservation of religious heritage
The production of monastic products (e.g. handmade body care products (soaps, lotions, bread, jam, spirits, beer, wine, religious products) is a means of generating income and contributes to the preservation of the religious heritage and the safeguarding of jobs. Monasteries often could not survive without the production and sale of these products. The historical knowledge about the production of these products is part of the immaterial cultural heritage of Europe.
Religious Heritage in Danger
“The approval of the project and the associated funds are a clear recognition of our long-year efforts for heritage preservation” says Wolfgang Kniejski, Managing Director of INI-Novation. “This commitment has convinced the European Commission that INI-Novation Bulgaria is exactly the right part for this project”. INI-Novation Bulgaria have important tasks in the project implementation. The company is a leader of the work package related with the training modules creation tasks including a research targeting European monasteries in the partner countries.
“Our European religious heritage is in great danger of being unsustainable in the long term. According to a research with a topic “Current problems in preserving the monasteries in Bulgaria”, in the last few years there has been a steady decrease in visits and donations in Bulgarian monasteries by Bulgarian citizens. The reasons for this can be sought in the economic situation of the state and society. The production tradition has also been abolished – in the past the Bulgarian monasteries have been a serious producer of both agricultural and household items, but they have been selling them, but they have recruited their own support. Nowadays, a a few monasteries have own production that can financially support their existence, development and preservation of the religious heritage. SKIVRE project supports this process to recover the production tradition in the monasteries. INI-Novation Bulgaria has led or contributed to several European projects in recent years, related to preservation of the religious heritage. “We are now contributing these experiences to SKIVRE,” says the expert.
European cultural heritage seal for SKIVRE
The awarding of the seal of the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018 for the project came just in time for the first project meeting in Germany. “This makes our project visible throughout Europe as a contribution to the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018”, the German project coordinator Karin Drda-Kühn is pleased to say.
European expertise for the project
In addition to INI-Novation Bulgaria, the partnership comprises of a multidisciplinary European team representing the target groups and the expertise required for the sustainable impact of SKIVRE: media k GmbH as coordinator (Germany), Bronnbach monastery (Germany), the European network “Future for Religious Heritage” (Belgium), the two educational developers Wissenschaftsinitiative Niederösterreich (Austria) and INI-Novation (Bulgaria) as well as the digital development partner GU-net (Greece).
Angela Ivanova, project manager, INI-Novation Bulgaria